Let’s face it; there are two very real truths about selling:
1. It’s essential to business growth
2. Nobody wants to be sold.
The contradictory nature of these two truths can make being a salesperson very difficult, and frustrating. You want to share your product or service with someone because you know you can help. But you don’t want to be too “salesy” and come off like a sleazy cars salesman (apologies to my car sales friends!).
So how do you increase your close rate without increasing the amount in which you sell people?
Simple. Help them.
Selling can be an extremely rewarding career. Sure, we all know you can make a pretty nice living in sales, but I’m talking about the reward of knowing you’ve done the right thing for your client. If you look to help, instead of selling, you can focus on what that person needs, and find the right solutions to their problems. This is how you build long-lasting clients; by consistently helping them. If you do this, they’ll come back for more.
So how do we make sure we’re focused helping our clients? Here are 7 rules of selling you should live by.
1. Shut Up and Listen
Want to know how to close more deals? Stop talking all the time. So many salespeople spend an entire conversation telling potential clients all about their incredible services. The fact is; they don’t care. They just want to know if you can help them. And you are never going to figure that out if you never let them explain their problems. Shut your mouth and let them do the talking.
2. Be Real
People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. And most people are better at detecting a fake than you may think. Drop the act and be yourself. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Build that relationship and the sales will come much more easily. Not to mention; if you build a strong relationship and somehow do not make the sale, you’ve still created a new connection and potential referral source.
3. Watch That Body Language
So much of what people say goes unnoticed by salespeople; primarily the things they’re saying with their body language. Pay attention to how they’re standing. Do they seem nervous or anxious to leave? Are they constantly looking past you or around the room? These can be signs that you are losing them, and despite the fact that you may want to try and sell harder at this point, if you’ve lost them, it may be time to call it a night and try again another day.
However, you should also be looking for signs like a change in how they’re standing or sitting. If they lean in or adjust their positioning to be closer, they’re interested. If they suddenly cross their arms and back away, or sit back in their chair, you may be losing them or putting them on guard. If they role their eyes, they’re questioning what you just said so you should ask why. Paying attention to body language is one of the most underused techniques in selling, but is without a doubt one of the most important.
4. Ask Questions
I was speaking to a new colleague of mine last night and she mentioned having some issues gaining new contacts at a recent convention. As we discussed it, it was clear she was going booth to booth with a sales pitch in her mind, and she was focused on the goal of getting that business card or contact info. I told her to instead focus on getting to know people.
The same goes for any sales appointment. Don’t go in with the goal of closing a sale. Go in with the goal of getting to know that person better. Regardless of what they think, people love talking about themselves. And people LOVE to talk about their problems, both personal and professional. Instead of trying to tell them everything about what you do, ask them all about what they do, how things are going, and what problems they’re coming across. Then sit back and listen as they give you everything you need to make the sale.
5. Keep It Short and Sweet
Even if you focus on asking questions and keeping your mouth shut, at some point you’re going to need to speak. When those moments come, really focus on not presenting a 30-minute pitch. Whenever possible, try to respond with additional questions and continue to let them know you’re interested in them, not just a sale. Keeping your answers short and sweet can build a bit of intrigue and trigger their desire to ask more questions and get to know you better. And thus, a relationship is born!
6. Knock Down Barriers
Ok, let’s be real; getting to know someone and focusing on them and their problems is great and all, but we still need to make a sale at some point, right?
Of course. And one of the most effective tactics for making sure you’re in a good position to close is to know who makes the decisions, what factors they’ll consider before making a decision, and generally what might stop them from working with you.
Here’s the awesome thing: if you focus on the first 5 rules, they’ll lay all of this out for you.
- Shutting your mouth allows them to talk more.
- Being real and building rapport allows them to feel comfortable with giving you honest answers.
- While asking them questions, you should be finding out what their position is, how much decision-making power they have, who else is going to be in on the decision, and what has stopped them from making a change in the past.
- And keeping your answers short and sweet allows them to talk even more and give you everything you need to know the barriers you might face, knock them down now, and put yourself in a position to close.
7. Ask Them to Do Something
Don’t focus on closing. Trying to close puts everything on you. And if we’re staying true to the other 6 rules, none of this is about you. It’s all about them. Ask them to take some sort of action. Put the control in their hands. People love to feel in control. And remember, they hate to be sold. If you’ve followed rules 1-6 and done them well, they’ll have already sold themselves.
Selling is not easy. That’s why not everyone can do it. But if you’re in a sales role, or an entrepreneur who doesn’t have a sales team yet, you better get good at it, because sales are what keep your business alive. Stay true to these 7 rules of selling, and you’ll be fine.